Updated: Aug 10, 2022
A glimpse into the life of a teenage girl living in the jungle of Peru.
Take a deep breath because you’re about to travel with me 3,226 miles into the jungles of Peru. I want you to imagine with me, for a moment, growing up a different way. You’re 17 years old and your about to graduate high school.
Deep within the jungles of Peru, you take one step in front of the other, and look ahead on the long dirt road that you have walked every day for the past 8 years. The sound of the river rushing over the rocks and the birds singing melodies high above you in the trees brings with it a calm feeling of familiarity. As you look around, you take notice of the huge jungle leaves clinging to the side of the road every once in a while, allowing you a peak through the trees where you can see the endless mountains that surround you. Up and down the hills you walk, eager to get to school, to learn something new and to see your friends.
You know when you graduate, life doesn’t change. It continues on as it always has, school is an escape from reality. Every day your dad, your mom, and your grandma go and work the fields, but for this brief time in your life you don’t have to. You could go and learn, but to what end? The closest institute is 14 hours away, your parents can’t afford to send you there, and even if you could get there, what are you going to do. You need money to eat, to live. No, school is not an option, so what else is there? You can enter the police force or the military, but you have seen so many others try that route and for whatever reason they all just ended up back in the fields. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, it doesn’t matter how hard you work, your future is working the dirt, making just enough to live off of. Why hope for anything better, why dream? School was your hope for something more, for a different future, but now you’re close to graduating and you realize that your dream of escaping the reality of what surrounds you was nothing more than a fantasy.
Why paint this picture for you? Why ask you to step into it? For the children of the Yanesha people this is their reality. This is the life they live every day. Many of the kids walk for several hours to get to their elementary or high school each day, they work hard and they follow the rules. They play soccer and the girls beast the boys in volleyball, but as they grow and begin to look ahead to what the future holds many of them succumb to the hopelessness of their present reality. With no options, and no escaping the jungle, they give up on learning. Many of the girls become pregnant before they have the chance to graduate and the boys start skipping school to help work the fields and provide for their family. Because of the lack of education, what the people do manage to grow or make into a micro enterprise is quickly stripped from them by capitalists seeking to take advantage of them.
Can you imagine a world where its normal and sometimes even expected for you to be pregnant before you’re out of high school? To see your kids bright and intelligent and not be able to offer them anything but the hard labor that you have always had. How do we make a change? How do we offer them hope? By offering them the love and care of Jesus Christ and showing them He was willing to step into the brokenness they see around them. He loved the outcast, cared for the sick, he was near to the brokenhearted, and helped the needy. He offered us hope far past our own understanding. In Christ, we can rest no matter the circumstances of life. Through the joy and through the suffering, He is our comfort He is our constant. The hope we offer these kids is far beyond ourselves! However, to go into this
environment and to serve the spiritual needs without addressing the physical leaves half a picture of who Christ was.
Our hope is that by helping with some of the physical needs we will be granted the opportunity of stepping into some of their spiritual realities. We long to be image bearers, reflections of who Christ has been to us. He didn’t leave us in our brokenness, He stepped into it, blessing us with a hope of the world to come. That will be a world where every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess Christ as Lord. For those who believe that He is the way and except Christ as the Savior and Lord of their life, every tear will be wiped away and life will be restored.
We are working alongside the Yanesha people to build a training center that will provide a few different benefits. It will give them hope of a future where they are no longer enslaved to this vicious cycle of poverty, and in a small way will give them a physical representation of a future reality. That reality is one of a world where they are safe and free to learn and grow into who the Lord has created them to be.
The training center will become a beacon of light for these communities; a safe space where training and education can take place with assurance of a brighter future. Practically what that looks like is an educational facility that has a base for youth ministry, Christian community development, education of physical health and wellbeing, and small business training. A refuge where children can come and feel safe to learn and play. It will be a training center for pastors and lay people where they can learn the depths of the word of God and learn how to go out to their communities and lead their people.
For too long the Yanesha people have been isolated, cast out, and taken advantage of. Would you consider partnering with us to be a part of this ministry. Together we can make a difference! To find out more information you can click here. To give you can click here , 100% of donations will go towards the building funds.